Fun with the Shrinky Dink Machine

It's Alive!!

The Shrinky Dink Machine was a gift from my mom, many, many moons ago. It’s made it through 3 moves and 2 states. Yet it never saw the light of day until this month.

I was rearranging my craft nook (located in a large closet in the guest room) for the bazillionith time, trying to find balance between working space & displaying cute and wonderful things. The eternal form vs. function battle royale was happening, but on a less grand scale. See, like most of my craft spaces over the years, items have a way of…creeping out…and sprawling. Kind of like when the blob- the 80s version- starts small then starts to take over that movie theater? Wait, or was that “The Stuff”? Hmm. In my memory it looks more like grape jelly than evil, possessed marshmallow fluff…but I digress. Cheeky craft supplies. The Shrinky Dink machine had found itself in a hidden away corner under the desk, somewhat covered in fabric scraps and polyester fiberfill runaways. So I pulled it out and set it aside with a dusty pile of other forgotten supplies to a better home:  My ikea sideboard. Man that thing has been good to me. It has served me loyally since ’04, and been everything from a food pantry, to a workbench, to a temporary changing table , and now, it had recently become the housing for Jellybean’s arts & crafts supplies, as well as craft supply overflow.

Weeks later, while fetching more paper for the mini-artist out of the sideboard, I came across the machine again. I realized I had just about every thing I needed to shrinky dink. Yep, i’m using it as a verb. Deal with it. there’s gonna be more of that coming up. Then I saw this post from Heidi Kenney’s blog a week later. I deemed it a crafty sign.

The machine came with a few sheets of the shrinky dink film. I also had a separate pack of the film, as well as a pack of some sort of off brand shrinky dink film that I don’t quite remember buying (so that means it was way before I was broke). I followed the instructions: I screwed in the light bulb, turned the machine on, & let it warm up.

everything laid out before shrinky-dinking

The night before, I made sketches of the drawings I wanted to test. I taped the sketch paper to the film and used colored pencils, per the instructions recommendations, to trace and color on the rough side of the film to make the pictures. After I filled up a page, I cut around each design and put them in a box so I wouldn’t lose them.

rarin to go

After the regulation 30 min warm up period, I put my first film on one of the 2 trays the machine came with, and slid it on in.


Important notes before shrinkying your dink (whether you use the machine or any other heating method):

  • if you want to make words, remember to draw it backwards on the rough side-the smooth side will be the front when all is said and done.
  • are you going to be hanging your dinks? Be sure to punch holes in them BEFORE you shink them. I repeat, BEFORE. and make the hole bigger than you think you’ll need. Remember, the hole will shrink, too.

It only takes a few minutes for the shrinking to happen. The instruction packet recommends 3-5 minutes. I don’t know who came up with the idea for the viewing window, but they deserve a cookie. It was really fun to watch them shrink down through the little viewfinder window while singing “she blinded me with science”. Honestly, it’s kind of hard not to when you’re harnessing the power, albeit low-level heat from a light bulb.

Anyway, once they’ve shrunk completely, the tray gets slid over to the cooling chamber, with the help of the handy tray nudger stick thing that comes with the machine. And once they’re nice and cool? Presto!

lil lovelies in hand

Good times had by all 🙂 I’ll def be doing these again soon! Here are some more photos from the adventure:

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